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Altitude of zoo, can tha be limiting factor for successfull keeping and breeding?

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Nikola Chavkosk, 18 Feb 2016.

  1. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

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    I was asking myself, and researched for a while on net, So what you think about next topic-issue:

    Whether the higher altitude (eg. above 500 metres) at wich the zoo is located, can negativelly affect biology of some animals who normaly originates from lowland areas, from low altitude. The atmospheric pressure at higher altitude is lower, that can cause lowered blood presure in both humans and animals.

    How the animals who evolved in lowland areas, or who were translocated from lowland areas to higher altitude, feels or how their systems work? Can that affect the breeding susscess.

    Also with the intensity of sun in some areas to animals who are from rainforest (protected from direct intense sunlight, eg. why there are blind malayan taprs in Australian zoos?)

    I researcehd on internet, and find that most very successfull and large zoos are located in lowland areas. Some exceptions were Hellabrunn zoo in Munich (altitude aroun 600 metres), or Madrid zoos (altitude around 630 metres)?
     
    Last edited: 18 Feb 2016
  2. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    I imagine altitude, as with temperature and humidity, would indeed be a factor. However, one of the two examples you gave is exaggerated, and both are still close enough to sea level that the effect of altitude would be minimal; Tierpark Hellabrunn is only 525 metres above sea level rather than 600 metres. The highest collection in Europe is Innsbruck Alpenzoo, at a maximum of 778 metres.

    However, even this pales into comparison with Denver Zoo at 1610 metres.
     
  3. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

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    Oh yes, Hellabrunn zoo is at 525, I made a mistake, Denver zoo - 1610 metres? Lol that's too much, are there Elephants, gorillas, giraffes, snakes?
     
  4. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Full range of ABCs to my knowledge, including all the species you cite.

    It is worth noting that in humans, the physiological effects of high altitude only start to kick in at around 1500 metres above sea level, tending to become noticeable at around 2000 metres and with altitude sickness becoming common in unacclimatised individuals beyond 2400 metres. Although altitude sickness *can* occur at altitudes as low as 2000 metres, this is uncommon in healthy adults.

    As such, the altitude of Denver Zoo is nowhere near sufficient to cause health problems in humans - obviously this cannot be entirely applied to other species, but it is worthy of consideration.
     
    Last edited: 18 Feb 2016
  5. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    Based on their website, Denver Zoo has a pretty wide variety of both common and less common mammal species including Asian Elephants, Western Lowland Gorilla, Red Kangaroo, Red Panda, Grevy's Zebra, Grizzly Bear, Transvaal Lion, Nile Hippopotamus, Sumatran Orangutan, Malayan Tapir, Black Rhinoceros, and Przewalski's Wild Horse as well as Aye-Aye, Asiatic Black Bear, Cape Buffalo, Okapi, and Dall's Sheep. They also have a pretty normal collection of birds and reptiles such as cassowary, penguin, rattlesnake, and Komodo Dragon. I don't know of any big issues caused by the altitude, though I'm sure it causes a few challenges.

    ~Thylo:cool:
     
  6. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I visited it's web site too, and found the same species as those you have listed. And it seems that beside keeping them, they also have breeding successes like I saw malayan tapir with calf.... but colection of reptiles is relatively poor, but i guess that's matter of zoo choice to keep just those species.
     
  7. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    I've found that, with U.S. zoos at least, zoos don't really put the vast majority of the reptile and bird species they have on their websites. So more likely than not Denver carries a lot more species than are represented on their website.

    ~Thylo:cool:
     
  8. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    The effect of altitude may work the other way round. Some montane species do not seem to do well in captivity, perhaps because they do not adjust to low altitudes; possible examples include pika species and blood pheasants.

    Alan
     
  9. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

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    Well, I plan to establish my small modern zoo, at altitude somewhere between 550-650 metres above sea level, 41.20 degree northern coridor, as soonest possible when I will got the opportunity.
     
  10. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member

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    Please be aware that most zoo animal species can live at quite high altitudes. For example elephants live permanently in cold mountain forests of eastern Himalayas and on slopes of Kilimanjaro (and famously, occasional ones wander even higher, up to the glaciers).

    Your second point, whether strong sunlight harms animals from the rainforest floor is well documented but, unfortunately, often overlooked. We still see gorillas, malayan tapirs and cassowaries on sunlit grassy paddocks in zoos. Although gorillas hate strong sunlight, tapirs go blind and cassowaries get eye cataracts.
     
  11. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

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    Totaly agree with you. Rainforest animals should be protected from direct sunlight, because that will also be part of their welfare according to their origin and natural evolution.

    Yes Eastern Africa is quite high. I mostly taught on animals that naturally only live in lowland areas, like lowland gorillas, sea mammals (sea level and under sea level) (and there are cases in wich dolphins are maintained at 600 metres altitude (eg. Madrid). But seems that animals are highly adaptable to higher altitude.
     
  12. temp

    temp Well-Known Member

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    500 m is virtually nothing and well within the belt that, from an ecological point of view, is lowland. In a tropical context, the first lower montane species typically only start appearing between 1000-1600 m (exact border varies), which mainly is related to rainfall and temperature. Ecological changes linked to oxygen levels only appear quite a bit higher, typically 2500+ m. In other words, up to at least 1500-2000 m a zoo would face pretty much the same things as a sea-level zoo in a colder and/or wetter region.
     
  13. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the information. I am not familliar a lot with ecology, tough. (I am young vet).
     
  14. temp

    temp Well-Known Member

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    The main problem with blood pheasant has been the small founder population. To various extent some of the same things have been seen Blyth's and Cabot's tragopans, Koklass and Bulwer's pheasant, and Crestless fireback. Whatever causes the problems with captive pikas altitude in itself is unlikely to be the main issue. Quite a few species, including some of those that have been tried, occur down to lowlands, e.g. Daurian down to 400 m, Pallas's down to 1000 m, steppe and collared both down to near sea level.

    One of the few highland species where there are indications that low altitude may present a serious problem is the Tibetan antelope (Chiru). This may be the exception to the rule as many other highland bovids do fine in captivity in lowlands (ibex, chamois, takin, etc), but none of these are restricted to altitudes as high as the Tibetan antelope.
     
    Last edited: 19 Feb 2016
  15. Zoovolunteer

    Zoovolunteer Well-Known Member

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    Latitude may also be an issue with some species. Some high Arctic bird species especially may not breed further south than their breeding range - I expect the shorter day length is a major factor. Away from the equator UV levels even in the summer would also be lower than animals are used to, which is why South American primates especially require Vitamin D supplementation to remain in good health.
     
  16. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    I take your point, but in some cases the low number of founders may be linked to a high mortality rate in the imported specimens.

    Alan
     
  17. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Denver Zoo has already been mentioned, and that zoo has an extensive collection of animals at 1,600 m elevation. In fact, Denver is arguably a contender to be one of the 10 best zoos in the USA! Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, in nearby Colorado Springs, is at 2,100 m above sea level and that zoo has bred 200+ giraffes over the years. I think that Cheyenne Mountain is #1 all-time amongst zoos in terms of giraffe reproduction.
     
  18. Batto

    Batto Well-Known Member

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    What about Dvůr Králové?
     
  19. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Who knows? Maybe Dvur Kralove is #1 and Cheyenne Mountain is #2...as both zoos are at around 200+ giraffe births in the past half-century or less. Impressive! Cheyenne Mountain advertises itself as having the largest giraffe herd in North America (20+) although to be honest the exhibit there could be much larger.
     
  20. Batto

    Batto Well-Known Member

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    Then why to bring up a superlative (#1) in the first place?;)